Medical Gumbo

Medical Thoughts Seasoned With a Bit of Everything
Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 6, 2009 1:20AM

Caroline No

Nepotism. It’s a word in the dictionary, I swear; and people used to consider it an insult. It means using family connections to get jobs, usually at the expense of those poor bastards not lucky enough to be conceived in the back seat of a Rolls Royce. At least, back in… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 5, 2008 10:49AM

The Secret Defense of CME

While reading through the November 15th issue of American Family Physician, I happened across a peculiar advertisement. Neither a pharmaceutical nor a medical product ad, it had political overtones, and thus seemed oddly out of place. It stopped me because its subject was a topic of particular… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 18, 2008 1:59AM

America's Number One Health Care Reformer. No Kidding.


Two years ago, in its relentless drive to deliver always the low price, Wal-mart rolled out its now famous $4 drug plan. The approach was simple – all Wal-mart pharmacies nationwide would offer a slate of generic drugs for $4 cash. Though the plan was straightforward and seemed benefici… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 6, 2008 2:26PM

A Post-Election Wish

This may seem peculiar, but one of my fondest-but-craziest desires after this long presidential campaign is to see Barack Obama appoint John McCain to his cabinet.

Before anyone readies the flame mail, hear me out. This idea first crossed my mind as I watched McCain give his concession speech. It was… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 4, 2008 1:55PM

Election Day: The Pro-Life Swindle


I’m going to go out on a limb and admit that I am anti-abortion. Nor do I mind using the term anti-abortion instead of pro-life. Pro-life means nothing to me. Everyone likes life, just as we are all pro-money and pro-sunshine. Call me anti-abortion as you like, but in return… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 24, 2008 1:04PM

The Worst Gift Ever Given

It resided in my right desk drawer at my clinic in Chalmette, Lousiana. Frequently overlaid with misplaced papers, unwanted drug samples, and forlorn drug-rep paraphernalia, oft forgotten but never completely lost, it was the worst gift I have ever gotten. My desk and my office took on 8 feet of wate… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 23, 2008 11:27AM

Another Health Care Myth Bites the Dust

People who oppose sweeping health care reform often try to score easy points with some variation of this statement: “American health care is the best in the world. People come from all over to see the doctors in the United States.” The reasons people come here, we are told, areRead full post »
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 20, 2008 9:55PM

Electoral Fraud or Plain Stupidity?

On October 15, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reported an odd fact about Mississppi absentee ballots -- you can't mail one in with a single 42 cent stamp. This, it turns out, is because the envelope the state provides for voters to mail in their ballots is larger than the standard first… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 14, 2008 1:43AM

McCain's Lord of the Flies Moment

On Friday, John McCain got acquainted with British philosophy. The educational moment occurred at a political rally, well known now, when McCain was twice confronted by questioners who were buying into the Obama-is-a traitor argument to a degree unanticipated by McCain command control. The first que

Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 3, 2008 1:22AM

Palin v. Biden: Impressions

Random thoughts on the debate.....


Overall, I think Biden won the debate on points, but Palin at least appeared to hold her own. Voters who were predisposed to vote Republican will feel more comfortable in doing so now. So overall, Palin stopped the bleeding more than Biden advanced his cause.… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 29, 2008 4:05PM

Why We're Lucky the Market Crashed Now

Today Wachovia is going down. One more of the top ten banks in the nation, in the dust bin with all the others -- Bear Stearns, Lehman, Washington Mutual, Countrywide. I get this sinking feeling that, as bad as I think things are, they are actually worse than that.

Which is… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 11, 2008 11:45AM


On my way to work today, I noticed an odd thing – no American flags flying. Not a single one anywhere. I live in rural Mississippi, the Bible belt, home to some of the most conservative people anywhere in the United States. So it was genuinely surprising to see, in a… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 7, 2008 1:26AM

Katrina: Friday, September 2, 2005

In the morning, we got a call from Lara Gold, the wife of one of my partners in our St. Bernard medical practice. After many despairing hours she had gotten in touch with her husband, Tom Gold, who had made it through the storm alive. He told her what had happened… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 4, 2008 1:48PM

The Big Fib

I'm the type of guy the Republicans could have if they really tried. I live in the South, the reddest of Red Country. I am Catholic and anti-abortion, like low taxes, and tend to agree with Jefferson's statement: "That government is best that governs least." I don't trust political do-gooders, and… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 1, 2008 10:49AM

Katrina: Thursday, September 1, 2005

Late morning. It had to be late; we hadn't gotten to Baton Rouge until 3 am. Following the pattern of the entire week, the news on Thursday was worse than the day before, just as the day before had been worse than the day before that. The Morial Convention Center was… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 1, 2008 9:59AM

Gustav Takes Aim

I’m not having nightmares these days, but I’m not exactly sure why not.

When it comes to traumatic events like Katrina, usually everything is fine on a day-to-day basis until there is a trigger, and then it all comes back. Saturday, I felt just such a trigger.

I was driving home in the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 31, 2008 9:52AM

Katrina: Wednesday, August 31, 2005

 We devoted Wednesday morning to getting our smashed car window repaired. The dealership was busy, and we waited several hours for the mechanics to finish the job. In the waiting room all the televisions were tuned to Katrina coverage. Unfortunately, as the other customers watched they talked ab… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 30, 2008 10:20AM

Katrina: Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tuesday was the beginning of the nightmare. Monday was expected — a terrible storm landed and there was great damage. Tuesday was supposed to be the Day After, the day to hear about heroic rescues, damage assessments, and assurances that we were back on the path to normality. That is not… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 29, 2008 1:59AM

Katina: Monday, August 29, 2005

Our House, 6 Weeks After Katrina 

This whole town does look like whatever hope becomes after it begins to weary a little, then weary a little more. But hope deferred is still hope. I love this town. I think sometimes of going into the ground here as a last wild gesture of love —Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 28, 2008 1:13AM

Katrina: Sunday, August 28, 2005

This is the third of my series of eight posts on my experiences with Hurricane Katrina. Please see the August 26th post to start from the beginning.

Six thirty AM I was awakened by the sound of hammering. George and Juan were back, boarding up the window directly above the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 27, 2008 2:36AM

Katrina: Saturday, August 27, 2005

This is a continuation of my personal account of my experiences with Hurricane Katrina. To see the first entry in this series, please see yesterday's post.

On the morning of the 27th things were rapidly changing, but I was not yet aware of that. The first item in my Saturday… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 26, 2008 1:37AM

Katrina: Friday, August 26, 2005

One year after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, I commemorated the occasion by writing a history of my personal experiences immediately before and following the storm. I have revised this account for Katrina's third anniversary, and am publishing it here.

For the next 7 days, I will publish mRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 1, 2008 1:00PM

You're Joking, Right?

On Tuesday, July 29, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback issued the following public statement regarding the Beijing Olympics:

The Chinese government has put in place a system to spy on and gather information about every guest at hotels where Olympic visitors are staying. This means journalists, athletes' f… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
JULY 28, 2008 10:37AM

Call Night

If you have to die, you might as well die at a time convenient for your doctor.

I was at home in my usual state when I am on call -- in my ottoman in front of the TV, my cell phone on the right armrest, beeper on the left. SinceRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 15, 2008 1:50PM

Just One More Comment About the New Yorker. I Apologize.

Sometimes, I imagine an alternative universe where nice things happen. Not a perfect world; I am not naive enough to dream of a world without poverty and greed and disease. Just a world where people do little things within their power to make difficult situations a bit better. Like… Read full post »